If you find yourself scrunching your brow when you read cartoons in the New Yorker, you'll be happy to know you're not the only one who doesn't get the magazine's humor. Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) is apparently not much of a fan either.
The social-networking giant temporarily banned "The New Yorker Cartoons" Facebook page after one particular cartoon violated its community standards on nudity, according to a Monday post by the magazine's cartoon editor, Robert Mankoff.
The black-and-white cartoon, penned by artist Mick Stevens, features a naked Adam and Eve sitting against a tree with their cartoon breasts exposed. The breasts are rendered as two simple dots.
"Well, it was original," Eve says.
In his post, which he titled "Nipplegate," Mankoff jokingly wrote that Stevens re-drew the cartoon with the characters fully clothed as a way of appeasing Facebook. "The gain in clothes caused too great a loss in humor," he added.
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Mankoff also posted a close-up image of the two offending dots.
The notorious vagueness of Facebook's community standards has provoked the ire of more than a few artists and photographers whose artwork and photographs have been yanked from the site. Instances of images being deemed inappropriate by Facebook's watchdogs seem arbitrary at best. In July, a Seattle mother was banned from the site after she posted a photo of her two young daughters in which one pretends to breastfeed the other. In July, a photograph by the Canadian artist Gregory Colbert was taken down. The artfully done photograph features a naked woman, flanked by cheetahs, sitting in profile with a child in a desert.
Angered by the censorship, Colbert wrote on his Facebook page, "Where I see an image of the harmony, the FB censor sees pornography."
According to its specific standards on nudity and pornography: "Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity. At the same time, we aspire to respect people's right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding."
In one of the more widely publicized censorship dustups, Facebook last year pulled down a cover image of Nirvana's seminal album, "Nevermind," which features a naked baby floating in a pool. Following several media reports of the incident, the cover -- which was posted to mark the album's 20th anniversary -- was allowed back on the site.
Facebook, typically tightlipped about its community policies, did not comment on the incident. On its "Facebook Community Standards" page, the website said its guidelines are an attempt to "balance the needs and interests of a global population."
For the New Yorker, at least, the quarrel with Facebook has reached a temporary truce. The New Yorker cartoons' Facebook page, which boasts more than 55,000 "likes" and counting, is online and functioning normally as of Tuesday.
But on Monday afternoon, a status update from the magazine said, "The New Yorker is just one inappropriate cartoon away from getting banned from Facebook for life."